Layla looks up and sees him standing at her doorway. It took forty-eight hours after his relapse but there he stands, as expected, wanting connection and attention. Derrick doesn’t care that she’s sleeping. He doesn’t have a concern for how she feels at all. He wants to feel better after not speaking to her or the kids since before Friday. He has no concern for how his silent abuse might hurt others, only that he’s tired of it and now needs her to help him feel justified in his psychological weaponry.
Layla is half-way moved out of the house in her mind already. They’ve been sleeping in separate bedrooms most of their marriage anyway. She’s so tired of his bullshit. She’s known for a long time he’s unwell. She wishes she had known in the beginning…or at least followed her gut more.
She hates this part. This is the part where she feels empathy. Narcissists can only survive with empaths. She hates that her ways are a burden for her. Empathy can be so beautiful in the world. She prays her ability to put herself in another’s shoes could be seen as a gift. In the right relationship it could certainly feel like a gift. With Derrick…it’s always used against her and feels like a curse.
An hour later, after all the familiar back and forth, he wants to know what he can do to make things better. He wants to know what she wants. Layla wants what she always wanted. To be happy. To not have to endure his sick and twisted personality disorder. She’s still as tired of his mental abuse as she was in 1997.
Derrick retracted everything hurtful he had said days earlier. He doesn’t want her to leave, he knows he shouldn’t have told her everything they have is his and made her feel dismissed and unsafe staying in the home they both created. He retracts again saying she doesn’t deserve his anger. He even went so far as to admit he wouldn’t have anything in his life if it weren’t for her. He’s never say it so others hear him, these words are only for the confines of their private conversations when he’s trying to manipulate her. The love-bombing has only gotten sicker and sicker with the years.
Layla turns to lay on her side, her back towards him, exhaustion running through every muscle and fiber of her being. She’s not even out of bed yet and his mental monster is awake ready to imprison her. She let’s him drone on and on knowing if she doesn’t interrupt he’ll stop sooner. He wants arguing, he wants her attention. His mother is the same fucking way.
She thinks back to when she was in the police academy, newly divorced, getting her life on track. She wishes she hadn’t wanted to learn self-defense. She dreams of what life would have been like if she’d kept walking right past his self-defense gym, wonders if an honorable man would have crossed her path instead. A man who could truly love her and would never sit for hours abusing her mentally…
She remembers her Maserati, he had a Mazda with no floor boards in the passenger seat area. She remembers water splashing up her skirt when he drove over puddles! She didn’t care, she thought love was about quality time and memories, not material items. Now he gets to tell her she can leave HIS house each time they fight. He can tell her everything is HIS when he wants her to feel scared. He enjoys controlling her because he has no self-control of himself. Just like a bully.
Layla knows the truth of how he wouldn’t have all that he does if it weren’t for her hustle. He tries to threaten her. It was her back he stepped on to get all that he thinks is his. He uses his words as weapons but projects and tells her she’s the one with the “surgeon’s tongue” that can rip his heart out when she finally states the truth. Layla never thought the truth was a bad thing until she saw how he and his mother would literally stop talking to anyone if they spoke the truth out of turn. She’s convinced that the truth is only offensive to the liars in her life…her mother, brother, his mom, and he. It’s all a monster’s game.
Layla exhales hearing another excuse.
“I didn’t speak to any of you for days because I was hurt you called me a cheater.”
The “you” statements begin and she closes her eyes to cover up rolling them. He continues,
“You said “How cold I have ever loved you, you’re a cheater” and that hurt me!”
Layla almost screams in defense, she knows she never said that but it’s not worth it, his fucked up mind hears what he wants and she knows all he’s doing is gaslighting her away from the very fact that he is a cheater. He cheats himself. He hates himself and instead of admitting that very fact, he wants to fill the air in the stuffy bedroom with his bullshit narcissistic garble. He begins the comparison,
“I know I was angry, but I never said it that way or even mentioned love!”
Layla smirks to herself thinking, ugh, he is truly disordered. His mind is sick. She thinks back to how in 2013 he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionics Disorder, and the ever covert Narcissistic Personality Disorder that plagues their lives daily. He, in the moment, is proving Dr. Lynch correct AGAIN in her diagnosis, with the hour long tongue lashing Layla is so done.
Derrick made his tremendous disdain for Dr. Lynch known. He would never accept her test results. Accepting the diagnosis would be death to him. Layla accepted them years before and again in a heartbeat when Dr. Lynch announced them in the tiny office. The diagnosis helped her know he wasn’t right when he’d tell her it was all her. Layla even thought him hearing his diagnosis would help, but it did not. Most would work at becoming “self-aware” after a diagnosis, even try to work with it or make things easier, not him. Accepting results could foster working forward on solutions but thats not how it’s done in Derrick and his mother’s world. Blame everyone else at all costs. Like the serial killer Sam Little, “Deny, deny, deny.”
Layla tires of his mental game and climbs out of the other side of the bed to get to the bathroom. This was not how she imagined starting a new week. Realizing he was losing her focus, Derrick takes a startling approach to his attention seeking conversation. She stumbles to the toilet, not even turning on the light, just sitting in the dark to find some sort of peace. A moment’s reprieve from his controlling banter.
“I’m going to announce to my students that I cheated on you.”
Layla slumps forward with her head in her hand, reaching for toilet paper with the other. She thinks how he’s really losing it and just wants her to manipulate her to ask him not to do such dramatic things because he thinks embarrassment will stir her up. He thinks because she values honesty and truth so much, and her children, that him stating such so publicly will get her to beg him to not. Derrick loves her begging. He loves to see Layla cry and plead for peace and happiness. Nothing stirs the monster inside him like watching a woman beg for happiness and he knowing he can keep it from them. It’s a sick way for him to get revenge on his mother, his original wounder. His first rejector.
Layla hates that she was chosen to be the surrogate for his misplaced hatred. He says he loves her but she cannot fathom how a man could love a woman and want to destroy her at the same time. Cheating, mental torture, false fear…it’s all his monster game.
Layla finishes, washes her hands, and doesn’t react. Still. She knows Derrick enough that he would never publicly admit anything. He’d rather die than endure public scrutiny. And if he does admit something he always has the blame right in the next breath. His ego come first. He’d never take accountability unless it was in private and even that is only for his personal gain. The time for repenting for his infidelity was back in 2012 when it happened…or even better, 1997, or 2001, or even better, never having done it all. She huffs at the thought that he’s been a cheater since she met him, probably since birth. How a woman raised the most dishonest man she’s ever met is mind-blowing, but she has been taught that narcissists are not born, THEY ARE CREATED.
Layla exhales at the thought of being with someone with such low self-esteem he has to react to every person that flirts with him. She gazes at her reflection in the mirror, even in the dark she can see deep down in her eyes how much she wishes she didn’t love a man who’s mother didn’t want him in her womb. She hates that her heart aches for him, that she knows he didn’t ask to be born or created into the monster he doesn’t believe he is. She walks to the closet to get shoes.
Derrick drones on and on. He loves the sound of his own voice and the peptide high he gets in his brain from the shit that rolls out of his mouth. Layla appears at the bathroom door, stopping to stare, not wanting to be disrespectful and walk out of the room and hoping that he’ll soon catch hold of the social cues she’s been giving by moving about.
“I’m in repentance Layla…truly. I’ve shamed myself babe.” He turns his body towards her with his sincerest gaze, his eyes saddened.
Layla looks at the liar she’s known for too many years of her life, the liar thats made her into one for loving him. Half of her wants to take him in her arms and love the child inside who didn’t ask to be this, the other half of her wants to hook kick him in his lying mouth and watch him fall to the floor in the silence she craves so early in the morning. She could say it. The truth of him wanting to disclose his “mistakes” to his peers so he has witnesses and support. So he could extract the attention he needs since she does not give him those needs.
She decides against it.
Engaging would cause this to go on all day. She even wonders if she should start another fight so she and the kids could get another few days of silent abuse and she could have some peace. Layla blinks realizing that his monotones babbling has caused her further cortisol hormone dumpage in her veins. She knows if she just gives up on this and moves on with the day she can begin to heal her own body.
To diffuse and end the Monday morning torture she steps towards the door and points to the kitchen,
“You want coffee?”
Derrick smiles his most endearing grin thinking he’s succeeded at his goal. He stands coming towards her for a hug demonstrating how he feels they’ve made it through another one of her issues. Layla walks away instead of accepting his false affections, Derrick following after. Her moving on towards another day of imprisonment means she let the monster win. He loves when she lets him win.